Author: Mac Barnett and Jory John
Length: 224 pages
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Book 2 of 2 so far
Content appropriate for: Grades 3-5
Format: Digital ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Three adjectives that describe this book: funny, easy-to-read, disappointing
I straight-up loved Book 1. It was so fun! I frequently recommend it to my 4th and 5th grade students who are looking for something funny to read, and so far they have all loved it. So, my students and I were super excited for Book 2. The first third or so totally lived up to my expectations. I Laughed Out Loud on almost every page. Unfortunately, I'll have to break the news to them that I didn't end up loving it, and that I'm not sure I'll get a copy for our classroom. Here's why -
The pranks in the first book were elaborate, creative, and harmless. There were awesome diagrams accompanying several, and they did a brilliant job of incorporating the cows of Yawnee Valley. The first book was outrageous, and that's why so many of us love it.
This second installment simply doesn't do the same things. The pranks are too typical, easy for kids to duplicate, and far from harmless. They put peppers in people's drinks, pull the fire alarm, and drop someone's pants. I've seen this book referred to as mean-spirited, and I totally agree. To make it worse, there are no cows! Where is the creativity? Where is the outrageousness? Where are the diagrams, a la Rube Goldberg???